National Ministerial Association of The Brethren Church
The world was changing rapidly, and the Progressive Brethren were committed to engage that world. Some of us migrated to big cities. Others read widely, traveled broadly, and even pursued higher education. Simultaneously, we began to increase our contact with evangelicals whose beliefs differed from ours. Of great concern to our spiritual fathers was the growing influence of liberalism in the American church, and the possibility that some of our leaders would be led astray by its errors.
In 1921, the National Ministerial Association adopted The Message of the Brethren Ministry as a summary of the essential beliefs for members of that organization. For the first time in our history, leaders agreed upon a short summary of what they considered the essential beliefs of our movement. It would be used to help determine which leaders were qualified to lead our churches. The Message is a good document, and I hope you will take time to read it. It was officially adopted by our National Conference in 1938, and guided us until our current Statement of Faith replaced it in 1969.
Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches
Dr. Russell D. Barnard served as the first full-time director of The Foreign Missionary Society of the Brethren Church (now Encompass World Partners) from 1946 until his retirement in 1966. The following year, he was asked to chair a committee responsible to create a more robust expression of our doctrines. While most evangelicals would have little difficultly in embracing most of The Message of the Brethren Ministry, the new Statement of Faith went much farther in incorporating position statements that had come to define our beliefs over the intervening decades. In other words, while the new Statement of Faith was an accurate summary of what we had come to believe, it would be inaccurate to conclude it was a faithful reflection of what we had always believed.  As Welfare observed to Franklin many years before, we are a movement committed to continuing to grow in our understanding of God’s truth. The Statement of Faith was adopted in 1969 with only a few dissenting votes.
 A copy of The Message of the Brethren Ministry can be accessed at graceconnect.us/the-message-of-the-brethren-ministry/
 Scoles observes, “Most likely, none of the six major branches [of the Brethren movement] would be immediately recognizable to Alexander Mack.”, see p. 228.